On 22nd May 2018, the Creative Culture team went to the rural village in Baram, Sarawak, called Long Lamai. The journey took us 5 hours to reach from Kuching International Airport to Long Lamai. We flew from Kuching to Miri airport, then Miri to Marudi. After that, we continue flew from Marudi to Long Banga. After reaching Long Banga, we took 5 boats ride to Long Lamai village for 45 minutes. Finally, we reached the village around 12 noon. The team was allocated with 3 homestays and living for 5 days and 4 nights. In the evening at 4.30 p.m., we went to the school in the village called SK Long Lamei, the only primary school in that village for informal meeting with the School Principal and the teachers. After gathering all the teachers, the team met the teachers and the school’s Principal in the school catering hall for a briefing introduction of the Creative Culture project.
On 23rd May 2018, the team went to the school at 9.15 a.m for a formal introduction of the project to the teachers. Professor Sylvester presented about the opportunities of using play and games in teaching and learning. The method is called game-based approach that applied games for learning which includes fun and play elements to engage the students to learn about Science and Mathematics subjects, for instance. Associate Professor Dr. Fitri presented about her experience in conducting a STEM workshop for school teachers at Universiti Malaysia Sarawak. The objective of the workshop is to introduce Design Thinking approach and implement the approach in identifying and addressing learning issues of the pupils in schools. It was a successful workshop where teachers were able to use that approach to come out with solutions to the issues identified earlier. The resources used was the Lego sets, papers and pens. This experience could be meaningful for the local teachers to identify challenges faced by their pupils in learning STEM subjects and come out with the solutions, thus test out whether it works for the students. In the next session, Prof. Sylvester briefed about the events on the play time and remote playing through Skype. In the session, 32 students from SK Long Lamei will do their profiling of their name, ambition, and favourite food. The purpose of student’s profiling was later to be used for video-conferencing with students from The Howes School, United Kingdom. The team tested the Internet connection before they started the video-conferencing. The connection with the Howes School was successful in the beginning but lost its connection after a few minutes. The team planned to use Plan B to keep the kids going and let the students play the games we bought to the school. Alex, from Coventry University introduced Sphero, an advanced technology robotic waterproof ball embedded with chips and LED light and uses Scratch programming with tablet to control the movement of the integrated ball and showcase to the teachers. The other games include Code Master Programming, Go Mouse, Colourful Jenga, Sudoku Add, Sticks and Batu Seremban. Each team member and a teacher were there at every corner to assist and facilitate the students on how to play the games. There were 32 students from Grade 3, Grade 4 and Grade 5 participated in the event. The aptitude test was distributed to the students to know their computational thinking level.
On 24th May 2018, a Co-Create workshop was conducted for the teachers and the students in separate venue. During the morning session with the students, they were introduced about algorithmic method of giving specific rules or instructions. A set of rules to get out from the classroom, for example. Then, the unplugged coding game was introduced by the facilitator. The facilitator will start with a demonstration on how to play the game, then the students are free to form their team for challenges. The game has two level, Level 1 and Level 2. Every levels have 3 rounds of playing. For Level 1, the two players have to set a location on the grid simultaneously. Then, both players would start to code the instructions to reach for the specific location of the other player. For Level 2, the players can repeat the same steps as in Level 1 but they have to toss a dice to get the number to represent the number of obstacle they going to have on the grid. The students would have to remember the number of points they have collected and claim the points as stamps from the facilitator. In the next session, the students were introduced to Scratch programming. During the session, the facilitator guides the students with step-by-step approach for moving the blocks, assisted by ICT teacher. The event of using Scratch tool is a new experience for the students where most of the students were out of clue how to move the block to the script area and they need assistant on using the mouse. For the teachers’ workshop, the Game Cards approach was introduced by Prof. Sylvester for the teachers to create new games based on existing games mechanics and content topic in school’s syllabus. The idea of the game creation is to use game-based approach for teaching and learning to bring fun into learning and engagement from the students. The approach uses two cards, one for the game mechanic, and another one for the topic to be introduced. A few sets of example using the Game Cards approach was presented by Miss Jaya, a PhD candidate from UNIMAS. The teachers also got the chance to present their ideas. After the presentation, the teachers proceeded to start to create their games using existing tools which later in the day, the students were gathered in the school dining hall to play the games created by the teachers.
On 26th May 2018, it was the last day for the team to stay at the village. The team gathered and go ready for a boat ride to Long Balong and Long Banga. The team were separated into two groups, one group had used a small plane from Marudi to Miri and another group took a 4-wheel drive from Long Balong to Miri.